Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Coach goes free but father gets jail time in ‘drop-kick’ incident

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full story.


 The Ni River Middle School volunteer coach who “drop-kicked” a seventh grader will serve no time, but the boy’s father—who punched the coach in response—was ordered Wednesday to spend a day in jail.

Juvenile Court Judge Phillip U. Fines reduced the charge against Joseph Bernard Hart from a felony to a misdemeanor at the request of defense attorney Mark Gardner.

Wednesday’s hearing dealt with the felony charge against Hart, 21, and the misdemeanor assault and battery charge against Maurice Smith, 43, at the request of Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney John C. Bowers.

Hart had faced up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of felony cruelty and injuries to a child.

Wednesday’s hearing included testimony from Hart, three of the boy’s teammates and Ni River Principal Veronne Davis.

We’ll have a full story online soon and in Thursday’s Free Lance-Star.


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